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'It's Not Just About Beautiful Objects.' How Design helps business

4 min read
Alan Murray, chief content officer, Time Inc. Brands, Meredith Corporation speaks at the opening of the Brainstorm Design 2018 conference in Singapore on March 6th, 2018.
Photograph by Stefen Chow for Fortune


Alan Murray, the chief content officer of Meredith Corporation’s (MDP, -1.28%) Time Inc. brands, welcomed design luminaries and delegates Tuesday for the launch of the inaugural Brainstorm Design conference, hosted by Fortune, Time, and Wallpaper* in Singapore. During the three-day plenum, top experts from several industries will discuss how design can help business and how design thinking can be implemented into 21st century strategy.

“Design has become such an important driving force in business,” said Murray, who is also the president of Fortune.

“It’s not just about beautiful objects and great customer experience and gorgeous visuals,” Murray observed. “In a world where the pace of technological change is so rapidly accelerating, where choices proliferate, design is combating those problems, helping people make those choices and make people have better lives.”

Over the course of the next three days, three tribes of designers will address an array of design-centric issues, Murray explained. There are designers in the traditional sense, responsible for beautiful fashions and furniture. There are commercial designers, charged with putting design-thinking at the center of businesses and strategy. And then there are computational designers, who devise ways of harnessing mass amounts of data.

“We’re going to throw all of you together,” Murray said to the crowd of over 300 attendees from 33 countries, “And look forward to all of the insight.”

Murray also welcomed Dr. Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), which is supporting the conference alongside the Design Singapore Council.

“We believe design helps cut through the complexities of the world today,” said Beh, “It’s applicable not only for the vibrant start-up ecosystem, but also for many Fortune 500 companies.”

His remarks underscore design’s role as a crucial tool to tap into unmet consumer needs across industries worldwide. From tech to textiles, traditional ways of doing business are dissolving. Design allows firms to effectively confront the challenges of globalization and digitization, strengthen client relationships, and discover new solutions.

Convening for the Brainstorm Design conference are designers from Wallpaper*’s Design Power 200 list as well as business leaders from Fortune 500 companies. Leading CEOs, academics, and designers will discuss how firms can integrate business, society and technology into a streamlined strategy and harness the power of design in the 21st century.

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Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
National Design Centre